12 November 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Toni Duggan “Football has taught me a lot and I’m still learning now”

April 23, 2015
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Toni Duggan, Manchester City and England forward, has opened up about the hurdles she faced in her journey from a young girl in Liverpool to international football star, and where she hopes the sport can go in years to come.

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“Liverpool has always been surrounded by football and sport in general, there are a lot of deprived areas and football is an outlet for some people, it definitely was for me. The sport has taken me to a lot of places that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to go to.”

Even coming from such a great footballing city, Duggan didn’t have the easiest path to the professional game facing prejudice and stereotyping from a young age.

“When I was a little girl, people’s Dads would be shouting and would be upset if I took on their son. As I got older the opponents did respect me but, when they turned up on a Saturday morning and there’s just one girl playing against a group of lads, it was a shock for them.

“When I signed for Manchester City, their main aim as a football club was to change the perception of women’s football. For us being around the Academy, being around the men’s team, if we turn up one day and we don’t look as professional or as good as them, it’s noticeable straight away.

“Every single day we’re challenged, so in a way it makes us become better as people and better as professionals. We’re always fighting against the perception but it’s slowly changing. It will change, I believe that, but we need to keep working hard at it.

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With the developments in women’s football over recent years and with support from sponsors such as Continental Tyres, the profile of the game has risen. The popularity of Duggan and her team is expected to continue to rise over the summer with every England match of Canada 2015 being broadcast to the nation.

“In the past few years the media backing has been really good.  Can there be more? Yes, but there can be a bit of improvement with a lot of things. Can we be better as players? Of course and I think the better we play on the pitch the more coverage and publicity we’ll get.

“Football has taught me a lot and I’m still learning now. I still make some mistakes but it’s all for that goal, to be the best player that I can be. If I can be that one day I’m sure I’ll look back and it will all have been, not an easy ride, but worth it. “

Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Toni Duggan is on the #RoadToCanada, supported by Continental Tyres.

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